Election ’99

By now you’ve noticed a bunch of shining faces beaming from just about every visible surface on campus. It’s election time again and eager candidates are vying for attention and votes.

Official campaigning for the 1999 Students’ Union General Election kicked off after an all-candidates meeting on Fri., Feb. 12. Forty-five students are running for executive and commission positions for the 1999/2000 Students’ Legislative Council.

There are noticeably more candidates this year than last, but Chief Returning Officer Patti Teeuwen says this isn’t unusual.

"It apparently rotates from year to year," she said. "Some years there are hardly any candidates and others there are lots."

Seven presidential candidates are running this year, compared with only three last year. However, not all positions are as well-sought. The four people running for the Academic Commission were acclaimed, along with nine faculty representatives for the Students’ Academic Assembly.

Many candidates are presently members of the SLC, and both the current Vice-president External and the VP Operations and Finance are running for the same positions again.

"There are no rules preventing current members from running again," said Teeuwen. "It apparently just doesn’t happen very often."

Elected representatives are not required to take a leave of absence from the SLC during elections. However, due to potential conflicts of interest, any hired employee of an SU operation, such as Max Café or Volunteer Services, must take a mandatory leave of absence if they choose to run for a position.

Students will also vote on a non-binding plebiscite regarding an increase in the athletics fee from $25 to $39 for full-time students and $12.50 to $19.50 for part-time students.

"Non-binding means that even if students vote against the increase, the university can still raise the fee if they choose to," explained Teeuwen.

Paper and pencil balloting also returns this year instead of electronic voting. The reason? Logistics.

"We’d like to use electronic balloting, but we couldn’t locate the company we used last year," said Teeuwen, adding that the cost of paper balloting is about the same, even though ballot counters have to be hired.

Forums will be held over the next week for all the candidates. The presidential forum take place Thurs., Feb. 18 at 12:30 p.m. in Speakers’ Corner. Forums for Academic and External VP and commissions takes place Mon., Feb. 22 at 12 p.m. in the South Courtyard of MacEwan Student Centre. Forums for Events and Operations and Finance VP and commissions take place Tues., Feb. 23 at 12 p.m. in the South Courtyard of MSC. Engineering is also holding an all-candidates forum Feb. 18 at 6 p.m. in ENE 239.

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